“I want a divorce.” These are the last words any husband wants to hear.
It’s inevitable. You’re getting a divorce lawyer, and you have to start considering how things will change (from your belongings to your life). You have to split the “estate,” from your shared belongings to money and other assets.
But what about the kids? Who gets the kids and when?
Unfortunately, according to the American Psychological Association, divorce happens to 40 to 50% of married couples in the United States. The divorce rate for future marriages is even higher.
But only a small percentage of divorces go to court, usually due to a custody battle.
For fathers, custody battles can be an incredibly challenging aspect of divorce, especially when considering what is best for the children. How do you know what your rights are as a father fighting for custody or visitation of your children?
Navigating custody battles can be intimidating and a trying time for fathers, so knowing your rights and the facts will help you set any expectations for the process.
Courts and the Law
Men aren’t legally at a disadvantage. According to California law, judges can’t make a decision regarding custody or visitation based on gender.
As long as both parents are fit, California courts will offer both parents an equitable chance at custody.
Plain and simple, entitlement doesn’t exist in the courts because judges can’t decide based on gender.
This decision isn’t about what you want or think you deserve. The judge’s decision will be based on the best interest of the child. In most cases, the courts believe that the best situation is for the child to have both parents in the picture — known as frequent and continuing contact.
What did your world look like before the divorce? What was your daily routine? What was your child’s?
Considering what life was like before the divorce, the judge will decide with one goal in mind: not to disrupt the child’s life. Keeping everything as normal as possible and moving forward in the child’s best interest is the primary goal.
The court will consider how time was used before the divorce (by both parents) and how responsibilities were divided. If you worked 60 hours a week before the divorce, do you plan to after the divorce is finalized? Will this leave a reasonable amount of time for parenting and quality time?
Two Types of Custody
There are two lines of custody when it comes down to how the courts decide what is in the child’s best interest.
1. Legal Custody
Legal custody involves making decisions about the child regarding several things, including schooling, organizations, travel, health specialists, and extracurricular activities.
2. Physical Custody
Physical custody refers to where the child is and when. This form of custody takes into account the child’s primary residence, visitation times, primary custody agreements, and more.
Generally, physical custody results in the child spending more time with one parent than the other, even if a joint custody agreement is reached. It’s near impossible for time to be split exactly 50/50 in every situation.
Four Types of Visitation
Shared time is essential to any parent facing a divorce situation. Time with both parents is important to a balanced upbringing. California courts select one of four visitation types based on what is best for the child and other factors.
1. Scheduled Visitation
Visitation on a schedule prevents any miscommunication or confusion regarding who sees the child and when. Specific dates and times will be agreed upon by the parents and the court.
2. Reasonable Visitation
This open-ended form of visitation allows for the parents to agree on their own. This type of visitation requires solid co-parenting skills from each parent.
3. Supervised Visitation
Supervised visitation requires that the visitation with one parent be monitored by the other parent or an agency professional. This type of visitation is typically used for the child’s safety and well-being when one parent is not deemed fit to be alone with the child.
4. No Visitation
Suppose time with one parent would be physically or emotionally harmful to the child. In that case, the child’s best interest is for the parent not to contact them.
Consult with an Attorney For Advice
When facing a custody battle, you need the best representation possible — a lawyer that knows the judge and court as well as one who can help you fight for your rights as a parent who wants what is best for their child.
Azemika & Azemika Law in Bakersfield has helped families navigate divorce and child custody cases for more than 30 years, providing strong trust behind their legal guidance.
For a family-oriented firm at an affordable cost, contact Azemika & Azemika Law today.